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Formation Sénégal
One of the central challenges facing developing and middle-income economies is matching their educational and training sectors to employment markets. AFD has been supporting Senegal set up vocational training schemes in priority sectors, from agri-food and fishing to tourism and public works – sectors for a growing number of young people. But there is still much to be done.

Some 350,000 young adults enter the Senegalese job market every year. To boost their employability in the country, the Human Resources Qualification Project (HRQP) – backed by AFD in support of the Senegalese government's sector strategy – worked to adapt vocational training courses  to market realities. From 2005 to 2019, the aim has been to develop sector-based vocational training centers (CSFP) that meet key needs to enhance the competitiveness of the country's economy and help young people enter the workforce

See also: Evaluations Report 2023

Mixed results 

For the six CSFPs now in operation in agri-food industries, energy management and other sectors, young Senegalese graduates have a 60-80% chance of finding a job, compared to 40% at conventional training centers. 

On the other hand, the range of training courses available is still not sufficient, as highlighted by the project evaluation conducted at the end of 2021 by Nodalis and the Institute for Research and Application of Development Methods (IRAM). Companies are still reluctant to sponsor training courses for their employees. The result for most centers is lower than expected revenues. For example, CSFP Agroalimentaire's training courses accounted for just 7% of its sales in 2020.

See also: Transforming Education: AFD Group has solutions in its satchel

Institutionalizing the commitment of industry professionals

The CSFP model is based on a public-private partnership, a principle enshrined by the French government in the 2015 vocational training course guidance law.  

Despite the emphasis stressed on the private sector, its involvement has faltered due to the turnover of professional branch representatives on CSFP boards, and this has in turn affected the alignment of training courses with business needs. “At the outset, this project was driven by very determined individuals from the private sector,” explained Mouhamadou Sylla, in charge of evaluation at AFD. There was no real structural commitment. So, when these key people left, certain centers ran out of steam. ”

The evaluation underscores the importance of empowering the private sector upstream. To institutionalize its commitment and benefit from invested, competent and recognized professionals, the private sector needs greater support in two areas. First, its participation in the governance of CSFPs needs to be organized at a more structural level. Second, the private sector needs to be trained and equipped to manage and implement training course engineering.

See also: Education, Training, and Employment: 2022 Activity Report

Ensuring the independence -  and effectiveness - of training centers

Despite the fact that a public service concession has been signed with the private sector, the tendency of some state employees to intervene is still hard to overcome. The government, which should only be involved in strategic dialogue, planning, and regulation, sometimes interferes in managing the centers and encroaches on the management freedom granted to the private sector,” added Mouhamadou Sylla. This can have an impact on the range of training courses. "Greater involvement of the private sector will go hand in hand with greater management freedom for CSFPs.”

To better establish the public-private partnership, it is essential to complete the regulatory framework, notably through decrees implementing the 2015 law, which instituted this principle. In addition, a permanent, structured framework for dialogue, with a timetable and performance contracts, must be put in place to ensure that everyone fulfills the role assigned to them, and that dialogue between the two parties remains balanced. 

While there is room for improvement, the model has great potential. So much so that the World Bank has asked AFD to jointly support Senegal in massively expanding these training courses to include horticulture, poultry and tourism professionals throughout the country.

Find out more about the evaluation of human resources qualification projects